Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Nate Ewell at Slap Shot,
In each of the last two seasons, HBO’s “24/7: Road to the N.H.L. Winter Classic” series has brought new viewers to the N.H.L., thanks to its storytelling, production values and access.
Like many successful endeavors in the pro ranks — from the two-referee system to the left-wing lock — the ripple effect of “24/7” is now being felt in amateur hockey.
At least a dozen of the 58 Division I men’s hockey programs, including several that will begin play in the N.C.A.A. tournament this weekend, have featured some sort of all-access broadcast this season. Some have been produced in-house, like North Dakota’s weekly Web feature “Through These Doors,” while others have welcomed outsiders into their locker room, like Miami University’s “College Hockey Confidential” on CBS Sports Network.
In each case, for college programs, these initiatives are about more than attracting new fans — they also serve as a recruiting tool.
from Corey Masisak of NHL.com,
Boston College has earned the No. 1 overall seed and will get to open the 2012 NCAA men’s hockey tournament near home in Worcester, Mass., but a date with the defending champions could stand in the way of a trip to Tampa, Fla., and the Frozen Four for the Eagles.
Michigan, Union and North Dakota also secured top seeds in the tournament, which begins with first round games Friday and Saturday, while quarterfinal matchups to determine who will play in the Frozen Four at Tampa Bay Times Forum are set for Saturday and Sun., March 25.
Boston College won the Hockey East regular season and conference titles, and boast an NCAA-best 29-10-1 record. The Eagles top scorer is Chris Kreider, who is the top prospect of the New York Rangers and earned plenty of recognition when GM Glen Sather reportedly would not include him in a package for Columbus captain Rick Nash. He has 21 goals and a team-leading 42 points this season.
The Eagles, who have won this tournament twice in the previous four seasons, will face fourth-seeded Air Force in the opening round Saturday at 4 p.m. in Worcester. The Falcons won the regular season and conference championships in Atlantic Hockey this season, and they have allowed the third-fewest goals in the country at 2.13 per contest. That will be tested by the high-scoring Eagles, who average 3.52 per game.
from Mike Sielski of the Wall Street Journal,
Glen Sather had already spent more than two and a half years waiting for Chris Kreider, and as Sather pressed a phone to his ear and prepared to speak to a national television audience, Kreider made him wait a few minutes more.
The Rangers’ president and general manager was poised for an interview during the CBS Sports Network broadcast of a recent men’s ice hockey game between Boston College and Vermont. But the interview couldn’t begin at its scheduled moment—six minutes into the second period—because Kreider had just put the puck into the Vermont net for his 20th goal of the season.
Once play resumed, Sather again failed to answer a familiar question: Will Kreider, the Rangers’ first-round draft pick in 2009, join the team in time for this year’s playoffs? “Whether he’s going to play immediately,” Sather said, “is going to be up to him.”
A 6-feet-3-inch, 225-pound junior forward, Kreider has become the J.D. Salinger of college hockey since enrolling at Boston College, eschewing the opportunity to enter the NHL immediately to instead sequester himself on this campus a few miles west of downtown Boston. After each of Kreider’s previous seasons with the Eagles, the Rangers recommended that he turn pro. He declined. Now, with the Rangers atop the Eastern Conference, Kreider has an entire NHL organization and its fan base wondering whether he’ll begin his career with the Rangers this spring or return to BC for his senior season.
from DJ Powers of Hockey’s Future,
Each year, the NHL dips into the pool of undrafted collegiate players to bolster their systems. This season’s list comprises of six forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender. These players have, to varying degrees, attracted considerable NHL interest and could be coming to an NHL organization near you this off-season. Unless otherwise noted, all stats are current as of February 27.
Dan DeKeyser, D Sophomore, Western Michigan University
With 30 NHL teams pursuing him, Dan DeKeyser has become the hottest commodity on the collegiate free agent market this season. And it’s not hard to see why. Two NHL teams that have shown some of the greatest interest in the Broncos rearguard are the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Clay Township, MI native began making a name for himself with Western Michigan last season as an excellent mobile, puck-moving defenseman. This season, he has taken his development to a whole new level and that has had NHL teams clamoring to get glimpses of him.
DeKeyser’s combination of size (6’3, 190 lbs), great feet and terrific shot has made NHL teams take notice. His skating is very good, but it is his footwork that separates DeKeyser from many collegiate defensemen and it’s really something to marvel at. He moves exceedingly well both in the defensive and offensive zones. The 10 or so pounds that he added over the summer has simply enhanced that attribute, making DeKeyser not only a stronger skater, but also heightening his fundamentally sound positional play as well.
via Ken Schott of the Daily Gazette,
In a stunning move, Paul Kelly has resigned as the Executive Director of College Hockey Inc.
“The HCA would like to thank Paul for his service to CHI and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” HCA president and ECAC Hockey commissioner Steve Hagwell.
The news is surprising in that Kelly, who was on the job since Nov. 2009, has been traveling around the country attending games. In fact, he was just at the Union-Princeton game on Friday.
The release from the anticipates discussions to chart a different course for the position, including the option of appointing an interim executive director.
added 8:10pm, via Craig Custance of ESPN,
“Time to move on. I told them I’d give them two-three years to get the entity established and operational,” Kelly wrote in a text to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun. “It’s been 28 months and it’s time for a new challenge. Although I did enjoy being of service to the college; great group of coaches, media and other personnel.”
from Chris Brown (Michigan player) at Slap Shot,
This Sunday at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, the Wolverines of Michigan will be capping a weekend series with the Buckeyes of Ohio State in the Frozen Diamond Faceoff. With all the pressures of this series (the first game is Friday in Columbus), I’m here to provide some comic relief about our team and past experiences of playing outdoors.
As some of you may know I’m from Flower Mound, Tex., the new hockey hotbed of the United States, but I’m not the only “Texan” on the team this year. The assistant coach Brian Wiseman is our newest addition to the team and has brought a little piece of Houston, Tex., with him. He is the former assistant of the Houston Aeros as well as a graduate from the University of Michigan in 1994.
We have acquired nine freshmen this season, mostly hailing from Ontario and Michigan, with the odd ball, Mike Chiasson, from Las Vegas. A couple of the Canadian boys are pretty stereotypical. Alex Guptil has the heavy accent, and Phil Di Giuseppe can’t stop taping his stick. The outdoor game should bring back some old memories of growing up playing on the pond.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Paul Kelly, executive director of Newton-based College Hockey Inc., noted that the NCAA has begun to explore whether to scale back face and head protection to half-visors, at the option of individual players. Among those making presentations at a recent meeting on the issue were Boston University’s Jack Parker, Michigan’s Red Berenson, Notre Dame’s Jeff Jackson, and Kelly. “The main thrust of the argument by the proponents,’’ said Kelly, “is that the game will be safer once the full cage is removed. Players will play with less recklessness and with improved visibility to help see and avoid hits.’’ The downside is that the risk of eye injury with a full cage is zero, and half-visors, though effective, are not risk-free.
continue for a few more hockey notes…
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
But the billionaire owner of the Buffalo Sabres—whose $88 million “gift” to PSU in September of 2010 to build a hockey arena and start an NCAA Division 1 hockey program is reportedly the largest single donation ever to the school—also has some strong feelings on how the university needs to conduct its affairs now and how the vast majority of “Penn Staters” need not hang their heads.
“I am standing behind the university,” Pegula told TSN in his first interview about the PSU scandal, although he did issue a press release last week re-affirming his financial commitment for the D1 hockey program that is set to begin next fall.
“Our concern and compassion should be for the children involved in these terrible allegations,” he said in a telephone interview from Boca Raton, Fla. “Whomever may have been involved in any way, anyone who knew anything, they’ve got to come clean. They’ve got to step forward and say, ‘Here’s what I know, here’s what happened…’ and that includes you know who,” a seemingly obvious reference to Penn State legendary football coach Joe Paterno.
from Jess Myers of 1500ESPN,
If you think that you’ve had a tough year as a football fan in Minnesota, you’re absolutely right. But it could always be much, much worse. You could be a hockey fan in the South.
If you’re of a certain age, think back to the hurt and emptiness you felt when the North Stars packed up and took their Zamboni to Dallas in 1993. Remember the disbelief, the anger and the depression that came along with once the realization that pro hockey was truly leaving set in. Now, imagine that six months or so later, the Gopher hockey team had gone away, too.
That’s the hockey fan’s nightmare scenario that has played out over the past six months among the small but passionate hockey community in Georgia and Alabama. After a nondescript decade or so of existence, the NHL’s Thrashers were sold and relocated to Winnipeg in the late spring, making Atlanta the only major sports city in America to lose pro teams to both Alberta and Manitoba (the Flames moved from Atlanta to Calgary in 1980).
And earlier this week the news got even worse for hockey fans in Dixie, as the region’s lone link to the world of big-time college hockey was handed a death sentence as well. Though not widely known nationally, the University of Alabama-Huntsville has supported a varsity hockey program for more than three decades.
From Craig Custance at Sporting News:
Considering its proximity to Canada, Michigan is the battleground for a fight that’s not new, but grows hotter each year. It’s one the NHL is also watching.
On one side is Berenson—an All-America player at Michigan—and his fellow college coaches, trying to convince North America’s best young players to commit to college hockey. On the other side is Canada’s major junior powerhouse, the Canadian Hockey League, where elite Canadians—and a growing number of Americans—parlay junior careers into NHL careers.
Berenson looked at the young players in front of him and offered a warning against choosing junior hockey.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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